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Recruiting Misconceptions: The Reality for All Types of Prospects

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(Flickr – Chris Brooks)

There are many recruiting misconceptions throughout the entire process.

In fact, this was the basis for NCSA founder Chris Krause to start our organization. As a high school football student-athlete, he fell for one of the most prominent misconceptions out there (still happening today): any mailing from schools means you’re being recruited.

At first glance it makes a lot of sense: a college coach found your name and address and is sending you information on their program. This has to mean he or she is interested, has seen you play, or wants you to check out their school. Right?

In all actuality, mail from schools means little-to-nothing at all.

And it can be a hard fact to face, because it feels really good to collect pamphlets and letters from all kinds of programs. But until there is personal contact with a coach – phone calls, emails, personalized, hand-written letters– the mailers are simply coming from a database of names.

Trust me when I tell you this misconception is so common.

Former University of Miami all-star linebacker and current NFL free agent Tyler Horn shared almost an identical account to Chris Krause on his own recruitment earlier this year. Horn was receiving tons of mail from colleges across the country, which he took as meaning the offers would be next. He knew he was a good football player, good enough to play in college, and a piece of mail from a school must mean the coach will be calling shortly after.

Well, exactly like Krause, Horn’s junior season came and went; his senior season came and went. No calls, no emails, no offers.

A panic began to set in.

Luckily for both Krause and Horn, they decided to get proactive and call coaches, send film, write letters and emails. They decided to have no regrets and not hang up their dream of playing at the next level without some answers.

And lucky for the rest of us, they decided to share their stories and knowledge so others could learn from their mistakes. That’s why we’re a team of over 500 strong today – committed to not letting another student-athlete fall through the cracks of the recruiting process.

Recruiting misconceptions stem from false expectations.

Putting junk mail aside, the first thing on a student-athlete’s checklist has to be getting a realistic idea of what NCAA division (DI, DII, DIII), NAIA or junior college their size and ability could help them achieve. While the dream for so many is to be a Division I athlete, the reality is Division I is where the smallest percentage of athletes – and smallest amount of scholarship money – lies.

Next, sit down and determine your current level of recruitment. And be honest. There are many ways to tackle either side of the spectrum. One way? Being clear on other common myths like our junk mail debunking above.

In one of the chapters of his first book, Athlete’s Wanted, our founder Chris Krause goes through the top five recruiting misconceptions, and the actual truth of the situation.

Take a look at the top 5 myths below. If you want, you can read the full chapter online here.

Recruiting Misconception: The recruiting process begins when a coach contacts an athlete during their junior or senior year.

The reality is this: Due to the rise in athletic scholarship need and the increase of available information for college coaches, the recruiting process is now started earlier than ever. According to the NCAA, college coaches are starting to identify seventh and eighth graders as recruits and are even starting to offer scholarships to prospects before their freshman year.

Recruiting Misconception: College coaches discover talent junior or senior year at camps, combines, showcases, tournaments, and high school games.

The reality is this: College coaches depend on verified information from reliable sources, and they purchase lists of prospects as young as seventh grade. (Remember those mailers we were talking about?) Most coaches attend tournaments, games, and camps with lists of student-athletes they intend to evaluate, not with hopes of discovering random prospects.

Recruiting Misconception: College coaches initially evaluate talent by attending high school games and watching unsolicited videos sent from students and families.

The reality is this: College coaches do a majority of their initial evaluations by looking at videos requested or received from reliable sources and delivered online or digitally. After watching a video, a coach may decide to make an in-person evaluation.

Recruiting Misconception: NCAA Division I is the only option for collegiate athletic scholarships.

The reality is this: Over eighteen hundred colleges and universities sponsor collegiate athletes and are able to offer financial packages. Most opportunities fall outside of Division I programs.

Recruiting Misconception: A student-athlete’s high school or club coach is responsible for getting the athlete a scholarship.

The reality is this: The average high school coach has contact with fewer than five college coaches, most of whom are local. Student-athletes and families are ultimately responsible for connecting with college coaches.

Download the full chapter here


Our socuts are here to help you understand your level of recruitment and get in front of college coaches. The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile.

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About the author
Laura Chmiel

Laura Chmiel is a marketing coordinator and a lead writer for NCSA Athletic Recruiting. As someone with a passion for athletics and education, she graduated from Indiana university with a B.S. in Elementary Education. After school, she gained first-hand experience helping student-athletes and their families get to college.